Comic Sections Plus is a revised and greatly expanded edition of the hugely popular book Comic Sections, published by Boole Press in 1993, and now long out of print. It is the biggest (and best!) compendium of material ever published relating to mathematical jokes, anecdotes, humour, wit and wisdom.
The author writes:
Much of Comic Sections Plus is devoted to 'anecjokes', that is, stories, jokes and anecdotes about mathematics and mathematicians, or jokes with a mathematical or logical content. I firmly believe that such material is not necessarily flippant, but has a serious if not essential role to play in the study, understanding, and popularisation of mathematics.
Mathematics and humour are actually closely related and we can easily find structural links between the theorem and the joke. The mathematical problem and the facetious riddle have a lot in common too, and logic is undoubtedly a connecting link; mathematics is regarded as ultra-logical, while humour is often ultra-illogical, turning logic on its head. One rarely meets the legendary 'absentminded mathematician' in reality and in fact the level of appreciation of humour among mathematicians seems to be quite high, at least as great as that of any other profession. This is perhaps because mathematicians are quick to spot logical fallacies and also have to endure a considerable amount of jokes and humour, often made by other scientists. In addition, humour can be an excellent aid to teaching mathematics, as long as it is used skilfully and carefully.
Historically, there have been several mathematical humorists, humorous mathematicians, and people with a foot in both camps. We may cite Lewis Carroll, Stephen Leacock, Tom Lehrer, Martin Gardner, Charles Babbage, John Paulos, Paul Erdos, Leo Moser, James Clerk Maxwell and John Horton Conway. This book draws on the contributions of these great luminaries, but also features the amusing blunders of the 'geniuses' at the other end of the spectrum of mathematical talent.
Sadly, mathematics has the reputation of being the least popular and most difficult subject in school and college. We really cannot afford this state of affairs to continue, because mathematics is essential to virtually all human activity, since it is the basis of all organised knowledge. Perhaps the problem is that the subject has always been taken too seriously. Comic Sections Plus is an attempt to lighten mathematics, to make it more enjoyable, and above all to humanise it.
The funniest jokes in mathematics --
Alex Bellos, The Guardian
In an age of extreme educational earnestness (where a Poisson
distribution question about fish seems to be the nearest that A level examiners get to
a joke), I can heartily recommend this delightful compendium which, like its
predecessor, not only tickles the fancy, but provides much food for thought.
--- Nick Lord, Math Gazette, March 2024.
Comments on the old edition:
I enjoyed Comic Sections very much. --- Martin Gardner (Letter to the author)
... mathematicians are, well, a rather funny group of people.
--- Donald Casadonte (Humor Journal 9 no 1 pp 98-100)
This excellent book of jokes is just what has been missing from the mathematical community.
If the book can make mathematicians laugh, think what it can do for you.
--- Vasileios Symeonidis
When very logical mathematics and very illogical humor intersect ...
--- Margaret M. Urban (The Mathematics Teacher 88, no 1)
A valuable resource for commonrooms ...
--- (American Mathematical Monthly October 1994)
an irresistible counterexample ...
--- Nick Lord (Math Gazette 78 no 482)
was born in Castlebar, Co.Mayo, Ireland,.
some time ago. He holds
B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Mathematical Science from University College Galway and a Ph.D. degree in Algebra from the University of Keele in the UK. In 1996, he received a Diploma in Geology from University College Cork and in 2015 the National University of Ireland awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Literature for his books on George Boole. He is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at University College Cork where he taught for forty years.
He is the author of over eighty published books on such diverse topics as Lateral Thinking Puzzles (with Paul Sloane), Wit, Jokes, Puzzles, Words, George Boole (with Yvonne Cohen), John Ford's movie The Quiet Man, and Giving up Smoking.
His interests include Mineral and Fossil collection, recreational mathematics, wit, humour and jokes, words, photography, book collecting, broadcasting, family history, and puzzles of all kinds. He and his long-suffering wife Anne have five wonderful children and three even more wonderful grandchildren and live in Cork
Published in USA by Lulu.com for Logic Press
Paperback viii+264 Pages
A5. 60# White paper, 12 B+W illustrations,
Lulu ID: nekd69